By Marguerite Langlois
That, I said in an email to Katie, the Americorps volunteer for our PNA Village, is about the best way to describe what happened in my house on Friday, March 8.
I had what seemed an overwhelming task: empty my home office space so the room could be re-done. It was definitely not something I could do alone, but I knew from experience what to do: call the Village! Village volunteers Dennis, Mary, and Deb arrived right at the scheduled time. I explained the project, and the things we could leave if they were too difficult to move.
And then they organized what had to be done, went to work, and in just a little over an hour my home office was empty! Dennis had brought a hand truck, so he even moved my files. They had to find room for everything in my living-dining room…and somehow they did. They even got my computer disconnected and unplugged, moved it to my dining table, and got it all reconnected and plugged in again. My printer too.
We actually felt like it was a party! Carol arrived near the end to see how things were going, brought brownies, and later dropped off donations to Goodwill. A big messy chore turned into a lot of fun, and was so well done. And when I thanked them all, they also thanked me.
Then it was time for phase two: having the contractors come in.
BEFORE: dark, cramped, wall needs repair after new electric panel
When I started planning the project, I also asked the Village for a referral for a contractor. I was referred to August at Crescent Builds. A couple of meetings with him and his wife Emilee, who helps with decorating, convinced me that I wanted them to do the work. All my questions were clearly answered, they provided detailed information right from the start, and were very considerate of what my physical needs would be during the project.
So after the room was emptied, they began. Because I have to be careful about breathing dust, they sealed off the room. They vacuumed daily, and they kept my heating filters clean. I was impressed with everything they did, especially with the high quality of their work, and their attentiveness to me and my needs during the project. Over the three weeks they were here, I got to know a number of August’s group: Emilee, Ned, Brendan, Adam, Richard, Noel. They are really “Village people”…it’s clear that care and community are a value in all they do.
Contractor work begins
Emilee helped with color, carpet, and lighting choices, and I enjoyed her creativity and expertise with the process. I didn’t have to go out to shop: either she came here, or sent me things by email. Then as the work got going, Richard became the project manager, gave me his cell phone number, and told me to call anytime. One by one, people showed up, and got things done. Every bit of painting, carpeting, building, every last screw, each aspect of trim, things done twice if needed (I live in one of those old Ballard houses…there were surprises!)—all of it demonstrated their insistence on doing things well. They were on time, or they called. And they paid a lot of attention to my comfort and well-being, every day: doing various aspects of the project at a different time if needed, being sure absolutely nothing from the project got left in other areas of the house, asking if I needed anything. They had to move one of my smoke detectors—and then they changed the batteries too!
DONE! Light, color, space!
As everyone knows who has done it, remodeling is not necessarily a pleasant task, especially when major living areas are disrupted. But along with that, this whole project became a happy experience for me, and a memorable one. NW Spotless Cleaning (another Village referral) did an amazing job both at the beginning and end of the project.
I now work, communicate, and read every day in what is truly a room the Village built!
This is an amazing community we have. I’ve both benefited from it and have been happy I could contribute, too. Recently we celebrated the Village’s first anniversary—with a party attended by about 100 people. PNA, the larger community of which we are a part, recently celebrated its 30th year. I hope to be at the party when the Village celebrates that anniversary too! (Hmm….I’d be 100! Well, why not. I’d like being a Village centenarian!)